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From the Blog

The best food festivals coming to the South West

Posted by Sophie Hesp on Apr 19, 2019

Some old favourites and a few new faces


Sampling the finest food and drink that the South West has to offer is a fantastic way to get to know an area, whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning for another year of unforgettable holiday memories. Enjoy exquisite springtime dishes by the harbour, savour a tipple of your favourite gin under the summer sun or wrap up warm and watch live cookery demonstrations as the cold Christmas air nips at your nose.

For some inspiration on 2019’s foodie offerings throughout Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, we’ve rounded up the best food festivals in the South West.

Porthleven Food Festival

© Porthleven Food Festival

One of Cornwall’s most hotly anticipated events, Porthleven Food Festival returns to the harbour each year, bringing with it a whole host of fantastic foodie delights. The three day feast of food, drink and music promises live cookery demonstrations in the Chef’s Theatre, a pop up Port and Oyster Pub, plus a market filled with local gins, breads, meats and everything in between. Take part in a cocktail making masterclass, pick up tips from Ben Tunicliffe and Anthony Worrall Thompson and watch the sun set over Porthleven as the water laps the harbour wall.

Only a short drive away from Porthleven, discover the beautiful Bodillian sitting just above Praa Sands, while the architecturally striking Blue Elvin is located along the coast in Newlyn.

St Ives Food and Drink Festival 

© St Ives Food and Drink Festival 

With the idyllic setting of Porthminster Beach as its backdrop, St Ives Food and Drink Festival promises plenty of fun for all the family. From Cornish delights in the artisan market to spectacular street food made fresh to order, take a wander through the festival site and find your favourites.

By day, taste your way through the tents from Edward’s Fudge Kitchen and Smokoloko to Little Fish Hut and Rush Organics. And by night, take your seat on the sand as the evening fireworks light up the skies.

Just a short walk from the charming Cornish streets of St Ives, Shun Lee is a magnificent home to host sociable family holidays this May.

Salcombe Crabfest

© Norsworthy Photography

Soak up breathtaking views over the tranquil Salcombe Estuary and get hands-on with a series of fantastic cookery workshops at this year’s Crabfest. Surround yourself in the company of some of Devon’s culinary household names as Jack Stein and The Oyster Shack whip up classic dishes and seafood specialities by the waterside.

Try your hand at a crab picking masterclass with The Salcombe Fishwife or go head-to-head at the cook-off at 4:30pm, featuring a handful of guest chefs. As the evening draws in, stop by at one of three fundraising feasts to sample fine dining menus or relaxed barbecues, accompanied by innovative cocktail pairings from Salcombe Gin.

With lovely views over the sparkling Salcombe Estuary, while away balmy summer nights on the elevated balcony at Waterside, just moments from the harbour.

Taunton Gin, Fizz and Food Festival 

© Taunton Gin, Fizz and Food Festival

Back for another year of gin, fizz and food, this much-loved Somerset festival makes its summertime return on Sunday 2nd June. With over 40 different gins and a menu of mouth-watering mocktails, expect a day of tastings, guest speakers and live entertainment on the lawn at Woodlands Castle.

A packed programme of crafts and activities will keep the children busy, while the grown-ups sample local delights from some of the county’s leading caterers in the food court, from street food to pizza.

Sitting on the edge of Exmoor, the gorgeous Nightjar and Willow’s Rest make the perfect countryside setting for summer getaways with old friends. Less than an hour from the festival, enjoy a blissful day trip and take home a bottle of your favourite gin to sample as the sun sets.

Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival

© Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival

Embrace the July sunshine in Dorset and pay a visit to Weymouth Harbour for two days of seafood feasting. Whether you’re tempted by handpicked shellfish and tempura sea vegetables, gourmet lobster burgers or wild cod tacos, there’s something on the menu to suit every appetite.

Free to attend, the festival features over 100 stalls dotted around the pretty harbour, while talks and workshops offer an amazing opportunity to learn more about the abundance of seafood available just off our shores.

Padstow Christmas Festival

Guaranteed to ignite the festive spark in everyone this December, a visit to the Padstow Christmas Festival is the perfect way to sample a true taste of the county. Flying the flag for Cornwall this year are local food heroes Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw, who’ll be hosting live cookery demonstrations in the Chef’s Theatre and sharing recipes and tips with the bustling crowd.

Lining the Christmas Food Market you’ll find the best locally-produced food and drink the West Country has to offer, ranging from artisan cheese to award-winning rum – a very fitting winter warmer.

Make this Christmas extra special with a seaside stay at Samphire, just moments from Padstow Harbour in the beautiful nearby Trevone.

Dartmouth Food Festival

Taking place a little later in the year, Dartmouth Food Festival celebrates the best produce in the South West, with a myriad of local companies – from Cornish Seasalt to the South Devon Chilli Farm – all showcasing their finest produce over two days.

Having grown from humble beginnings in 2002, the festival is now one of Devon’s most prestigious events in the culinary calendar, welcoming 120 handpicked exhibitors and flocks of visitors to the yurt beside the Dartmouth Visitor Centre each year. Enjoy a weekend of workshops, competitions, seminars and tastings alongside a heady mix of celebrity chefs, as the likes of Mitch Tonks and Angela Hartnett bring their culinary expertise to South Devon.

From the bubbling sea-view hot tub at Phoenix House to the mesmerising coastal interiors at Blue Moorings, you’ll be spoilt for choice with luxurious retreats in Dartmouth.

Sophie Hesp profile image

Posted by Sophie Hesp

When she's not out for brunch, Sophie loves exploring the coast path with her partner and Loki, her lurcher. She writes about all things Cornwall and is a strong believer that there’s no such thing as too many house plants.

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